How do you define success?

IMG_4318I have to be honest: when I started writing the Gideon Hawke Series it never occurred to me I might win an award. Imagine my surprise when this happened! On Saturday I had the great honor of receiving the Kansas Notable Book Award for my novel A Nest of Hornets.

That was an incredible experience…but it was not the best experience this weekend.

On Friday I had the opportunity to speak to the 7th and 8th Graders at Chase Middle School in Topeka, Kansas. We discussed authorship, the American Revolution, and what “all men are created equal” means today.

When I started writing the series I did hope that I might in some small way be able to enhance young people’s understanding of the Revolution and what it means. The visit to Chase was a remarkable opportunity to do just that. Even better, I had a young lady approach me after one of the sessions and share her aspiration to be a writer; I was able to give her a bit of encouragement and advice.

I will probably never win a Pulitzer Prize or bust into the New York Times Best Seller List; but that’s just fine. If success means having a positive impact on a younger generation, I’m already been there! Now the challenge is to keep up the momentum!

 

Kansas Book Festival Weekend!

KBF-Logo-300x193This is an exciting weekend for me!

On Friday, September 8th I will be delivering author talks to the 7th and 8th Grades at Chase Middle School in Topeka, KS. Afterwards, my wife and I will be attending a Reception for authors and Book Festival Sponsors at the Governor’s Mansion.

On Saturday, September 9th, at 9AM I will receive my 2017 Kansas Notable Book Award, and at 10:30 I will deliver an author presentation in the Auditorium at the Kansas Capitol Building Visitor’s Center. Afterwards I will do a book signing, and then soak in the Book Festival: book vendors, authors, and food trucks!

Many thanks to the fans of the Gideon Hawke Series: this would not have happened without you!

I hope to see some of you there!

Kansas Book Festival: http://www.kansasbookfestival.com/

Robert Krenzel Author Newsletter Sign-Up: http://eepurl.com/cVgo8D

Robert Krenzel Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/RobertKrenzelAuthor/

Gideon Hawke Novels Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/GideonHawkeNovels/

Radio Interview!

Radio

I recently had the wonderful experience of sitting for an interview with Kaye McIntyre of Kansas Public Radio; the subject was my novel A Nest of Hornets!

On September 3rd Kaye’s Program aired, featuring interviews with 2017 Kansas Notable Book Authors. My segment was certainly not the best; in fact my “MUST READ” list has expanded significantly after listening to the show. Nevertheless, it was an honor to air on KPR.

Here is a link to the program: KPR Presents!

(I come in at around minute 41)

Enjoy!

Robert Krenzel Author Newsletter Sign-Up: http://eepurl.com/cVgo8D

Robert Krenzel Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/RobertKrenzelAuthor/

Gideon Hawke Novels Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/GideonHawkeNovels/

Vote Early! Vote Often!

VOTE NOWVoting has opened for Metamorph Publishing’s Summer Indie Book Awards and Gideon Hawke needs your vote!

 Please vote for A Nest of Hornets at the link below, and remember that each person can vote once every day during the voting window of September 1st through September 11th, 2017.

Please share! Please tell your friends! Please VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!

Vote Here!

 

2017 Kansas Notable Book: A Nest of Hornets!

anh-cover-smallA Nest of Hornets was just selected for the 2017 Kansas Notable Book Award!

Every year the Kansas State Library selects fifteen books which “highlight Kansas people, places, and events” as Kansas Notable Books.

As a Kansas-based author I submitted A Nest of Hornets, and I literally had a jaw-dropping moment a few days ago when I received the notification that it was selected!

The awardees will be recognized at the 2017 Kansas Book Festival on September 9th, 2017 at the State Capitol in Topeka. I have been invited to be one of the presenting authors at the Festival, which needless to say is a tremendous honor! In addition to speaking about A Nest of Hornets, I will do a book signing, have the opportunity to meet some amazing authors and readers, will likely pick up a great book or three, and will definitely partake of the fare offered by some of the many food vendors!

Many thanks to my family, friends, readers, and fellow authors who encouraged me and made this honor possible!

Now, I feel as though I need to step up my game! Given the success of the Gideon Hake Series thus far, I must ensure that Gideon Hawke #4, A Constant Thunder, does not disappoint!

 

2017 Kansas Notable Book Awardees: https://kslib.info/1318/2017-Notable-Books.

2017 Kansas Book Festival: http://www.kansasbookfestival.com/

Robert Krenzel Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RobertKrenzelAuthor

Gideon Hawke Novels Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GideonHawkeNovels/

The Forage War

The British plan for the winter of 1777 had been to disperse their brigades across New Jersey, where the units could live off the land to augment the tenuous cross-Atlantic supply line. George Washington’s recently proven proficiency at destroying isolated brigades made this plan untenable, so the British and their German allies retreated to a few massed positions in New York and New Jersey. This gave them security, but left the countryside in the hands of the Jersey Militia, who had been freshly galvanized by the American victories in the Ten Glorious Days. Now the British and Germans would have to send out fighting patrols in ever increasing numbers to forage for food and fodder. These foraging parties made attractive targets for increasingly large swarms of militia, soon reinforced by Continental troops.

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Here are just a few of the 50-60 “skirmishes,” with the forces involved:

  • January 6th: Springfield, NJ. A force of 50 Waldeck (a German principality) infantry and a few British light dragoons ambushed and captured. This action precipitated the British abandonment of Elizabethtown (modern Elizabeth, NJ).
  • January 20th: Van Nest’s Mills (Millstone), NJ. 500 British, reinforced with with artillery, were attacked by Brigadier General Philemon Dickenson and about 400 militia, reinforced by a company of Continental riflemen. The British were driven off with heavy loss, to include a wagon train and several dozen head of cattle.
  • February 1st: Drake’s Farm. A force of about a thousand British and Hessian troops, to include elite battalions of light infantry, grenadiers, and highlanders, attempt to set a trap for an American force. When the 5th Virginia Regiment tries to capture a small party of British foragers, they are surprised by the entire British force.  The Americans launch a bayonet charge which breaks the grenadier battalion and buys them time to make good their escape.
  • February 23rd: Spanktown (Rahway) NJ. Nearly 2000 British regulars under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mahwood, the British commander who nearly won the day at Princeton, attack a small American foraging party. As they launch what they expect to be a final assault they are ambushed by nearly 2000 previously hidden Continental troops. The British are driven from the field and pursued back to their fortifications in Amboy.

The Continental troops gained experience and confidence from these encounters. They would later put their new-found expertise to good use at Brandywine, Germantown, and Saratoga.

The British and Germans realized that this was going to be a long, hard war. Perhaps a few of them began to develop a new-found respect for their ragtag opponents. If nothing else, it seemed in the words of one British officer that an outing into the New Jersey countryside was like walking into “a Nest of Hornets.”

You can experience the Forage War from a participant’s perspective in Gideon Hawke #3: A Nest of Hornets!

A Nest of Hornets on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NBI511Q/

Update: A Nest of Hornets is now officially a book!

At long last I am holding a proof copy of A Nest of Hornets!

anh-cover-_frontAfter months of researching, writing, rewriting, editing, rewriting some more, and even designing the cover, what was once an idea has become something tangible: a novel.

The next steps? Check, check, and check again! I have a trusted agent (my father-in-law) going through it page-be-page. I also had Ben, my incredible graphic artist, take a look and approve the print quality of his beautiful maps.

Next I get to read my own book, cover to cover: ultimately it is up to me to decide what must be fixed. Does the cover look right? (I love it!) Did I get the width of the spine correct? (No…not quite. I will have to adjust that) Is the interior the way I envisioned? (So far) Does the “cream” colored paper really go easier on the eye and remind the reader of bygone days? (Yes, I think so) Are there typos? (Still checking)

I already found one minor issue, and I am certain I will find a few more things. Hopefully they will be all be quick fixes, and A Nest of Hornets will be available in time to be an excellent stocking stuffer! (Which reminds me…I have to check and make sure the 6” x 9” trim size really does fit in a stocking!)

In the meantime: Happy Thanksgiving!

Robert Krenzel Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RobertKrenzelAuthor

Gideon Hawke Novels Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GideonHawkeNovels/

Juggling Projects

I have reached a dangerous and challenging time and place: the space between two novels!

Draft #3 of A Nest of Hornets is complete. My editor, and more importantly my wife, have given me some great ideas. Now I have a bit of fine-tuning to do before it is fully ready for publication. But in my mind, this story is nearly told. So my thoughts are drifting…

I have begun writing Gideon Hawke #4, A Constant Thunder. I am truly pleased with the 1000+ words I have thus far! And with my recent excursion to Saratoga is fresh in my mind I am full of ideas that are begging to be committed to paper. What to do?

The next few weeks will be fraught with tough decisions as I parcel out my precious writing time between two novels. The good news, I suppose, is that this is a pretty good problem to have!

Gideon Hawke Novels Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/GideonHawkeNovels/

The Ins and Outs of Editing

A Nest of Hornets is with my editor, Ashlee Enz! Her efforts are critical to the novel’s success, but they are only one layer of editing. I have found the editing process to be a multi-phased operation.

When I write a first draft it tends to be in fits and starts. Occasionally I will get a good couple of uninterrupted hours to write, and when I do I try not to get hung up. If something isn’t quite right, I often just move on, planning to fix it “in editing.” Oftentimes I find myself tapping out a scene or patch of dialogue using the “notes” function on my phone, and then I email it to myself. Either way, this can result in the ROUGH DRAFT being VERY rough, so my first phase of editing is to go back through my manuscript on my computer to correct glaring typos and smooth out the flow.

Now I have DRAFT 1. It is still a little rough around the edges but a least is fairly coherent. I then try to take a break for a week or two. After the break, coming back fresh, the next step is to print out the manuscript and read it, pen in hand. I find reading a paper copy to be a very different experience from reading on a computer monitor; I tend to find more missing words and typos, but I also get a better feel for the narrative flow. I use pen and ink to mark issues and jot down corrections. If I am uncertain about something, I will often read it aloud; verbalizing reveals flaws that would otherwise remain hidden. This is also the stage at which scenes tend to get added or deleted, and paragraphs shuffled around. Once I am through with the printed work, I do the tedious work of going page by page in hard and soft copies, transferring edits from page to digits. I hate this part, but it is critical to success. By the time this is done, we are ready for the editor.

DRAFT 2 goes away to the editor. For a short time I clear my mind of the current book while the editor does her magic. When I get the edited copy back it is full of proposed revisions, which I go through one-by-one. With Times That Try Men’s Souls I think I accepted about 99.5% of Ashlee’s recommended changes: a good editor is priceless!

Now I have DRAFT 3. But we’re not done! There are three critical steps left, not necessarily done in this order:

  • Expert consultation. My son is in the target age group. I prefer him to read a draft to make sure I am on track. I the case of A Nest of Hornets there is also a bit of swordplay, and my son is a talented fencer, so I counted on him to make sure I got the technical and tactical bits right.
  • More expert consultation. My wife has been incredibly supportive of my writing, and I value her feedback. Her approval is critical.
  • One last read. I look through the manuscript one more time before identifying a FINAL DRAFT. This is the version that goes to Createspace or the publisher.

Once the publishing process begins, we can talk marketing. On the other hand, that next book in the series is so shiny…

Gideon Hawke Novels Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/GideonHawkeNovels/

Clean Edits Website: https://editorash.wordpress.com/